Tasmanians and tourists need reliable and up-do-date advice on water quality at Hobart beaches this Easter now that the Beach Watch program has concluded for the year.
Shadow Environment, Parks and Heritage Minister Alison Standen said it was unacceptable that over the Easter break beach users have no access to information about water quality after 10 out of 18 beaches failed the most recent pollution testing across Hobart in March.
“The Derwent Estuary Program’s 2018-19 Beach Watch season has now concluded and will not recommence until the first week of December,” Ms Standen said.
“It’s unacceptable that testing as part of Beach Watch is only undertaken between December and March and the program should be extended until at least after Easter every year, giving beach users confidence at peak holiday times.
“The fact that 10 of 18 beach sites that were tested failed the water quality test is an unacceptable public health risk.
“With hotter weather forecast this Easter, people quite reasonably want to go swimming and they need assurance that it’s safe to use southern Tasmania’s beaches.
“It’s equally unacceptable that even though Kingborough Council, TasWater and Hodgman Government agencies have been investigating two-year-old water quality issues at the southern end of Blackmans Bay beach extensively over the past six months, they still do not understand the source of the continuing issue.
“The council has had to identify and fix problems with broken storm water pipes and illegal sewerage connections to the storm water system while Environment Minister Elise Archer has been missing in action.
“Ms Archer should task the Environmental Protection Authority with a role to be an independent regulator to test the storm water outflows into the Derwent but meantime, Beach Watch needs to focus on more than only four months of each year.”